BRIEF HISTORY OF THE ALASKA BRANCH
The church that is known as the Community of Christ, Alaska Branch, has a long and interesting history. It was officially formed into a branch (congregation) on August 17, 1902. At that time it was called the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, Alto Branch
Sometime before the organization took place a young man by the name of Wellington Ellis had heard the gospel of Jesus Christ, preached by John J. Cornish, a missionary of the church. Brother Ellis was baptized and soon became a minister. He then came to Alto, Michigan, from his home in Reed City, Michigan, to visit his family. He was anxious to tell the wonderful gospel he had embraced. He held a two week preaching series in a hall for his family, there friends, and neighbors. Some were baptized at that time and others were baptized later in to the church. By 1902 there were 16 members, enough to form a branch.
At first the services were held in the different homes. By 1917 the membership had grown to the point where a larger place to meet was needed. As a result they began renting the Town Hall on McCords Avenue. By 1931 the congregation moved their services to the school house in the village of Alaska. In 1940 the school district sold the school house to the congregation which they then remodeled for a house of worship.
By 1956 the membership of the branch had reached 100. Then in 1952 the name was changed from the Alto Branch to the Alaska Branch
The membership continued to grow and in the spring of 1965 the congregation moved into a new building that they had constructed for which is at its current location on 68th Street. In 1970 the membership blossomed to 282 members.
Since that time several major changes have taken place in the doctrine of the world church. One major change was the allowing of women to be called into priesthood offices. Another change that came recently was the changing of the world church’s name to Community of Christ to reflect our desire to reach out more to the community. Recently we have also changed our communion practices to include all people of the Christian faith.